Catch the replay of me and Marya Brennan from NaNoWriMo’s Young Writer’s Program answering questions about short story writing!
Today I encourage you to write a warm-up story today, and invite you to join the StoryADay Superstars
This is an awesome way to quickly launch (and finish) a new story, any time you have time to write but are short on inspiration. Try it!
Use this story formula to to create an interesting character, give them a desire, kick off some intriguing action and plan the kind of resolution you want. Continue reading “Write on Wednesday – Quick Story Formula”
We’re less than a month away from StoryADay May 2018.
Yes, I’m going to be providing you with optional writing prompts. The best stories, however, come from ideas that you care about.
You can use my prompts, but it is going to be the sparks of ideas that you collect, that ignite your stories.
That’s why, before every challenge, I encourage you to gather Story Sparks, fragments of maybe-story-ideas.
Gather three Story Sparks a day for the next week.
- Read this post on Story Sparks, with some ideas to get you started.
- Read the “Secrets To Your Success” article from the StoryADay Essentials series, which defines a Story Spark and how you can use them to ‘win’ StoryADay.
- If you’re already on the mailing list, dig out the Creativity Bundle you received when you subscribed, and use the Story Sparks Catchers I created for you. If you aren’t on the mailing list, sign up to get your Creativity Bundle now!
If you collect three Story Sparks a day now, you will
- Gather 21 interesting nuggets for inclusion in stories, this week alone
- Start looking at the world like a writer does: it’s all material
- Train your brain to start thinking creatively
- Be bursting with ideas when you sit down to write!
Today’s prompt continues the month’s theme of looking at different short story forms you can try out.
This one’s a challenge, but really fun.
Write a story in 14 sentences
- You can simply write 14 sentences.
- You could use the Petrarchan form of sonnet where the first 8 lines/sentences propose an argument or an idea and the second 8 answer or refute it.
- You could use the Shakespearean form, with three groups of 4 linked sentences, followed by two lines/sentences that provide illumination, a revelation, a twist or an explanation.
- You could write a sonnet series, with each group of 14 lines fulfilling a different function in your story.
- Writing this way is hard but it frees you. Instead of worrying about writing well, you’re concentrating on the form. Sometimes that tricks your brain into writing really well; sometimes it’s just a triumph to have written at all.
Leave a comment telling us how it went!
This month I’m pushing us to write short stories in odd forms, lists, conversations, letters, all kinds of things.
Short stories can be told in narrative form, like mini-novels, but they don’t have to be. Part of the fun of being a short story writer is the ability to twist people’s brains, surprise them, make the familiar unfamiliar. You can do that with your images, but you can also do it with a story’s form.
Write A Story In The Form Of A List
You’ve made it! You’ve written stories all month long — whether you’ve written every day, or on and off throughout the month — I congratulate you!
Make sure to come back tomorrow for three things
- The June Serious Writers’ Accountability Group — make your commitment to your writing for next month
- Details about StoryFest — your chance to get your favorite story featured on the front page of StoryADay.org
- The mini-critique group I’m running next week, to help you whip your stories into shape in time for StoryFest.
But before all that: one more story to go:
Write A Story About A Writer
- Feel free to take out your aggressions on me! Feature a writer who turns on their teacher/mentor/professor!
- Channel Stephen King’s “Misery” and feature a stalker.
- Take the reader through all the goys and perils of the writing journey
- Or use the conceit of a writer character to do something that couldn’t really happen in real life.
And after you’re done, write a blog post or a journal entry capturing all you’ve learned about yourself as a writer this month. Resolve to build on your strengths. Keep what you write somewhere safe, so that next time you have a big writing push coming up, you can benefit from all these lessons!
If you share your post online, be sure to send me a link (in the comments below or by email) or tag me on social media!
And don’t forget, StoryFest is coming, June 10-11!
Thank you all for playing along this month. Without you, I wouldn’t be doing any of this.
Today I wrap up the story structure series with a bang.
Write a Hansel & Gretel Structured Story
- The Life-Changing Moment in this story structure, comes at the start.
- The Life-Changing Moment may have happened ‘off-stage’ before the story starts (imagine the story of Hansel and Gretel where the kids are already alone in the woods. That would work, right?)
- Remember to focus on what your character would never, ever choose to do, and how the circumstances are forcing them to face that (for example, Hansel and Gretel would never disobey/mistrust the adults in their life, but life is giving them a pretty clear directive to do just that).
- This story starts with a big moment, and then throw complications at your character. Once you’ve told us enough about the character for us to figure out how they’re going to survive, you can end the story.
- If you’d like to read more about this story structure, check out this post.
Don’t forget to post in the community or leave a comment to tell us how you got on today.
Today we continue looking at story structure: this time, with what I call the Ugly Duckling Structure.
Watch the video and write an Ugly Duckling story
The ‘life-changing moment’ comes in the middle of this story
Balance out every challenge from before that moment, with a similar, but different moment afterwards. Show us how the character (or their circumstances) have changed now.
This story might have to be longer than a Cinderella-type story. Sketch it out, if you don’t have time to do it justice today.
Read this post, which talks more about the Ugly Duckling structure.
Don’t forget to leave a comment or post in the community and tell us how you’re getting on. What have you learned this month, so far?